EDITORIAL: February the time to see red

Breast cancer campaigners keep up awareness, but other campaigns need help too

Hot on the heels of Pink in the Rink, a fundraiser held by the Victoria Royals hockey team supporting the B.C. Cancer Foundation, the UVic Vikes men’s and women’s basketball team is hosting its sixth annual Shoot for the Cure – another pink-themed cancer fundraiser, this one to benefit the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

We see them everywhere, small pink ribbons on a lapel here, larger ones stuck to the back of a car there: pink pens, pink water bottles, pink gloves, pink T-shirts, pink bracelets, pink socks, hats and even golf bags. We see them all every day and know the money spent to purchase them – at least some of it – went to support breast cancer research.

It’s a campaign that works.

Breast cancer deaths have decreased by almost 40 per cent since the peak in 1986, mainly due to earlier detection through regular mammography screening, advances in screening technology, and improved treatments – all a result of better funding and increased awareness, no doubt.

Cancer is a truly horrible disease. Every hour of every day, an average of 21 Canadians will be diagnosed with some type of cancer, and nine people will die from cancer, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

However, heart disease and stroke kill seven times as many women as breast cancer.

While pink is trendy and a great way to show you support a cause, this month is Heart Month, time dedicated to fundraising and awareness for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Heart disease and stroke take one life every seven minutes and 90 per cent of Canadians have at least one risk factor, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

So while pink gets all the attention, now is the time to see red and remind ourselves that, unlike most cancers, heart disease is something we can prevent.